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Ayushman Bharat Programme

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February 03, 2018

Why in news?

The Government has announced two major initiatives in health sector, as part of newly announced Ayushman Bharat programme.

What are the provisions?

  • The programme is aimed at making interventions to address health holistically, in primary, secondary and tertiary care systems.
  • The initiatives under the programme are:
  1. Health and Wellness Centre
  2. National Health Protection Scheme
  • Health and Wellness Centre - National Health Policy, 2017 envisioned Health and Wellness Centres as the foundation of India’s health system.
  • Under this, 1.5 lakh centres will bring health care system closer to the homes of people.
  • The centres will provide comprehensive health care, including for non-communicable diseases and maternal and child health services. 
  • These will also provide free essential drugs and diagnostic services.
  • Contribution of private sector through CSR and philanthropic institutions in adopting these centres is also envisaged.
  • National Health Protection Scheme - This will cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families.
  • This would translate to around 50 crore beneficiaries.
  • The scheme provides coverage of upto Rs. 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization. 
  • This is said to be the world’s largest government funded health care programme.
  • Besides, 24 new Government Medical Colleges and Hospitals will be set up, by up-grading existing district hospitals in the country.
  • This would ensure that there is at least 1 Medical College for every 3 Parliamentary Constituencies.
  • Also, at least 1 Government Medical College in each State of the country.
  • This is to further enhance accessibility of quality medical education and health care.

What is the significance?

  • Lakhs of families, at present, borrow or sell assets to receive inpatient treatment.
  • The concern of the consequent impoverishment of poor and vulnerable families is a continuing one.
  • Under the existing Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), poor families get an annual coverage of Rs. 30,000.
  • Several State governments have implemented or supplemented health protection schemes that provide varying coverage.
  • The present initiatives will supplement these in taking health care to a larger mass.
  • Higher health insurance cover is also seen as leading to a higher life expectancy.
  • The scheme could potentially ensure enhanced productivity and well being, averting wage loss and impoverishment.

 

Source: The Hindu

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